What Does GVWR Mean?

What Does GVWR Mean?

GVWR stands for Gross Vehicle Weight Rating. 

What is Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR)?

Gross vehicle weight rating is the maximum loaded weight of your vehicle as determined by the manufacturer. The GVWR accounts for the vehicle’s weight itself and the weight of passengers, editing cargo, accessories, and anything else added to the vehicle. When a vehicle manufacturer rates a vehicle for its maximum weight, they take into consideration the handling of the vehicle suspension system, frame, axles, wheels, and other components.  

If you load your vehicle past its rating, it can affect how it handles and possibly cause damage to the vehicle including the suspension. It is important to take your GVWR seriously for many reasons as there are regulations to GVWR. Vehicles with very high GVWR (10,000 or above) can require a commercial driver’s license, specific insurance, and/or are not allowed on public roadways. If you exceed your GVWR and are pulled over or involved in an accident, it may result in an expensive ticket or legal consequences. Take GVWR seriously when considering going past the amount your vehicle can hold.  

What Does GVWR Mean on a Trailer?

GVWR on a trailer still stands for Gross Vehicle Weight Rating. A trailer is considered the vehicle in this case. The GVWR is the most a trailer can weigh in total including the cargo, as determined by the trailer manufacturer.  

How Do I Find the GVWR of My Truck or Tow Vehicle?

  • On a truck or other vehicle, this information can typically be found on the driver-side door sill, in the owner's manual, or on the manufacturer website. 
  • On a trailer, locate the VIN label on the front half of your trailer. It should be located on the left side. This label will show you your trailer's GVWR.  

How is GVWR Determined?

The manufacturer determines the GVWR. It depends on factors like a vehicle’s payload capacity and its curb weight.  

What is Payload Capacity? 

Payload capacity is how much cargo the vehicle can haul in terms of weight. Passengers and items in the cab or truck bed contribute to the payload capacity. It is not the same as towing capacity.  

What is Curb Weight?

Curb weight is the weight of a vehicle including all the standard equipment and necessary operating fluids (transmission fuel, 90% full fuel tank, antifreeze, etc.) when not loaded with passengers or cargo. Curb weight is generally the weight displayed by manufacturers because it represents the functional weight of a car during day-to-day activities.  

GVWR is different than curb weight because it’s the weight limit of the vehicle, or in other words, the maximum the vehicle and its cargo can weigh. For example, say your vehicle’s GVWR is 5,000 lbs. If the curb weight is 3,500 lbs., then the resulting maximum payload capacity is 1,500 lbs. (5000 lbs. - 3500 lbs.) 

What Does GCWR Mean?

It is easy to get GVWR confused with GCWR. While the two are similar, GCWR stands for Gross Combination Weight Rating. 


What is the difference between Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) and Gross Combination Weight Rating (GCWR)? Unlike GVWR, GCWR is the maximum weight of a vehicle and its attached trailer, hence where the combined part comes from.  

However, like GVWR, GCWR is also determined by the manufacturer. To know whether you are under your vehicle’s GCWR, you’ll need to know the curb weight of your vehicle, the weight of all passengers and cargo, and the weight of the trailer with its cargo. For the best measurement, head to a certified scale at a local truck stop or recycling center. 

What is Tongue Weight?

Tongue Weight is an important rating to know for understanding towing capacity. Tongue weight is defined as the downward force that a fully loaded trailer exerts on the hitch of the tow vehicle. Too much tongue weight can cause a tow vehicle to sag and too little tongue weight may increase instability and cause trailer sway. The general recommendation is that the tongue weight should be about 10-15% of the gross trailer weight or whatever the trailer manufacturer recommends. 

Team members at your local U-Haul location can help with all of this. If you’re in need of a trailer, you can find various sizes at one of our 21,000-plus locations for in-town or one-way moves. U-Haul is also North America's #1 hitch installer with over 1,500 installation locations. We can also answer any questions about GVWR and GCWR on our trucks as well. All of this is because moving is made easier with U-Haul 

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